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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Characterizing, Detecting, and Eliminating Pathogens to Enable the Safe Introduction of Plant Genetic Resources

Location: National Germplasm Resources

Project Number: 8042-22000-280-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Mar 20, 2012
End Date: Mar 19, 2017

Objective:
The objectives of this project are to 1) Characterize unknown and poorly described pathogens (primarily viruses and viroids) and diseases highly significant to the USDA plant germplasm quarantine program; 2) Develop and transfer sensitive, reliable, and cost-effective methods to clientele for the rapid detection of virus and virus-like pathogens of quarantine significance; and 3) Develop and transfer methods to clientele for the therapeutic elimination of virus and virus-like pathogens from infected plant genetic resources. The objectives focus on characterizing quarantine pathogens and determining the causal agents responsible for diseases that could threaten U.S. agriculture and ecosystems, and developing tools to effectively detect and eliminate them. The research areas are developed in consultation with USDA-APHIS and the data, protocols, and tools developed by this project are shared with them. Because problems that require immediate investigation can arise rapidly in the plant quarantine system, this project will remain flexible to allocate resources to new or emerging quarantine problems as warranted.

Approach:
Conduct laboratory and greenhouse research to identify new methodologies and protocols for diagnostic testing of quarantined plant germplasm, with emphasis on highly sensitive molecular techniques that can shorten the duration time that material is held in quarantine and increase the reliability of indexing programs. Determine the etiology of poorly described quarantine diseases using a wide range of greenhouse and laboratory techniques. Conduct molecular characterization studies of quarantine pathogens and investigate their genetic diversity in order to refine and optimize testing methods. Develop protocols for the in vitro cultivation of prohibited genera germplasm and the therapeutic elimination of quarantine pathogens, thereby ensuring that valuable and sometimes unique and endangered germplasm is available for safeguarding and utilization. Transfer research data, protocols, and products to USDA-APHIS for incorporation into testing programs and to support science-based regulatory decisions.

Last Modified: 11/1/2014
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